Blu-ray storms past HD DVD in EU sales race

Blu-ray is outselling HD DVD 2-to-1 in Europe. But does that actually mean anything?

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) is crowing over its latest movie sales - it claims to have sold 1 million discs in Europe, outselling its HD DVD rival by more than 2-to-1.

The BDA says the numbers come from market research group Gfk, which also gives Blu-ray 73 per cent of of the high definition format market, according to Reuters. That leaves HD DVD with just 27 per cent or less, depending or not on whether HD VMD sales are included. This mirrors Blu-ray's dominance over HD DVD in the US.

Blu-ray fans have also had their faith in the format rewarded in recent months with a raft of strong titles, including Spider-man 3, 300 and Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End - the format's strongest sellers. 300 is also available on HD DVD.

All hype, no substance?

For all the huff and puff about the numbers though, sales of both formats are infinitesimally small compared to regular DVD movie sales. For example Americans bought four million HD titles in the nine months to September, but those numbers were dwarved by the DVD release of Transformers, which shifted 8.3 million copies in one week.

You can also argue that it's way too early to start talking about winners and losers. It'll be another year at least before a clear winner emerges, and even then that's dependent on a lots of external factors: the success or failure of movie downloads services, for example.

Incidentally, the BDA is also saying that 21 million Blu-ray games (i.e. PS3) have been snapped up since launch. That'll give the Xbox 360 fanboys something to chew over.

We've asked the HD DVD Promotion Group to comment on the substance of this story.